Oliver, Lauren. (2011). Delirium. New York: Harper Collins.
Textbook Chapter: 7
Subgenre: Dystopian/ Utopian Societies; Science Fiction
Book Summary: Delirium is a novel set in Portland, Maine, sometime in the future. The book's protagonist, Lena, is a seventeen year old high school student who loves to run with her best friend Hana. Lena appears to be a normal teenager, but her family is scarred because of her mother's suicide when she was younger. In the novel, all people must be "cured" around their 18th birthday, or they are imprisoned, killed, or exiled. The cure is a procedure that removes the part of a person's brain that makes them feel love. According to the government, love is what destroys people's lives, and makes them go crazy, so every person must be cured in order to remain in the city. Lena is following along with the plan, and knows she must be cured, until she meets Alex, who is an Invalid, or a person who lives in the Wilds, and is not cured. Alex has a fake identity which allows him to live in the city, and he and Lena fall in love despite all the risks. Alex also shows Lena that her mother was not dead, but had been imprisoned for 12 years. This fact made Lena decide to runaway with Alex to the Wilds. Lena and Alex are caught trying to escape into the Wilds by regulators from the government, and Lena is forced to get the cure early. However, Alex comes to rescue her, and she is able to escape into the Wilds. Alex, on the other hand, sacrificed himself to save Lena, and is killed by the Regulators.
Personal Reaction/ Why Teens Would Want to Read this Book:
I thought this book was great! It was interesting and kept my attention throughout the novel. The futuristic aspect of the novel reminded me of The Hunger Games, and I am seeing a trend in Utopian/Dystopian societies in young adult literature. I think that teens find this subgenre intriguing because they wonder where their life is going, and what life will be like in the future. This book is also a great read for teens because of the relationships between the characters. The novel has many parallels with Romeo and Juliet, and the theme of forbidden love will always draw a reader back for more. I know that many teens can relate to Lena in the story as she struggles with authority, relationships, and maturing into an adult. I highly recommend this book for any teen!